Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) IPL-winning team of 2008 will be in attendance in the final of the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League.
The Royals have reached the final this season for the first time since 2008 and the Sanju Samson-led side will take on Gujarat Titans (GT) in the summit clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday (May 29).
For the all-important final, the Jaipur-based franchise has invited the players of the inaugural edition. Among those invited are Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Swapnil Asnodkar, Dinesh Salunkhe, Siddharth Trivedi and Ravindra Jadeja, TOI reported on Saturday (May 28).
The report further says that overseas players such as Shane Watson, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Kamran Akmal, Darren Lehmann and Sohail Tanvir will not be able to attend the congregation for different reasons. However, former RR opener Graeme Smith will be in attendance as he covering the IPL as a commentator.
“I have been invited and I will be going there tomorrow,” Asnodkar, who opened the batting alongside Smith, told TOI.
“We are a family and we believe in the principle of ‘once a Royal always a Royal,” Romi Bhander, the head of Rajasthan Royals’ Jaipur-based high-performance centre, said while speaking to TOI.
“We want all our family members to be part of our celebrations and success,” she added.
RR had won the inaugural IPL season under the leadership of legendary Shane Warne, who passed away earlier this year due to a suspected heart attack.
“We have held a memorial meeting for him. He will be missed,” said Bhander.
Rajasthan Royals had defeated Chennai Super Kings in the final to lift the IPL title in 2008. Chasing 164, the Royals had overhauled the target on the last delivery, losing seven wickets.
Talking about the gesture, owner Manoj Badale said: “We are delighted that so many of our heroes from 2008 have accepted the invitation to join the IPL final as guests of the Rajasthan Royals. There is a great group coming – including Royals legends such as Yusuf Pathan and several of the ‘unknowns’ who made such an impact that year like Swapnil Asnodkar and Dinesh Salunkhe. Once you have been part of the Royals family, you never leave, and it has been humbling to have so many messages of support from past players.”
(With TOI inputs)